Manu Ginobili deservedly made it to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year on the first ballot. Manu is one of the greatest international players in the history of the NBA, and he was one of the most important players for the dynastic San Antonio Spurs, who enjoyed prolonged success the likes of which the NBA had never seen.
Manu, just like so many other Spurs players under Gregg Popovich, sacrificed for the greater good, and he did so more than anyone else as he accepted a role off the bench. He thrived in that role as the Spurs kept churning out 50-win seasons like it was nothing. While Manu was a big reason why they were so good, there was a certain someone who was the driving force behind the Spurs dynasty, and that, of course, was Tim Duncan.
Manu Ginobili Had High Praise For Tim Duncan
Duncan arrived in San Antonio in 1997, and success soon followed. In just his second season in the league, he led the Spurs to their first ever title, and when Parker arrived in 2001, followed by Ginobili in 2002, the Spurs had their very own Big 3. Together they would win 4 championships, and during his Hall of Fame speech, Manu hailed Duncan as one of the best players ever.
"The one next to me, one of the best players to ever play the game, but also, the most important one, one of the best teammates. Man, I learned so much about you, how to be a leader, how to be an example on the court and off the court so, appreciate you, Tim."
Duncan was chosen by Ginobili as his Hall of Fame presenter, and it is clear that he has a lot of respect for his former teammate, who is definitely one of the greatest players to have ever played in the NBA. He won back-to-back MVPs in 2002 and 2003 and is widely regarded as the greatest power forward of all time.
The great Shaquille O'Neal, who had many legendary battles with Duncan during the early 2000s, has a lot of admiration for him, and he stated previously that Duncan was the only big man he could never break. O'Neal even went on to add that he won't disagree with anyone who calls Duncan the GOAT, and that is high praise indeed from someone like Shaq.